What Canadians Want: The Canadian Election Rant (Part 1)
In most of the recent polls leading up to next month's election the Conservatives have had the support of between 36-39% of decided voters and now the pundits are talking about them possibly forming a majority government. It seems Canadians want the Conservatives in power. It seems they want more of what Prime Minister Stephen Harper has to offer. It seems Canadians are leaning to the right.
The only problem with all of that, of course, is that it's bullshit!
The fact of the matter remains that between 61 and 64% of Canadians (depending on which opinion poll you believe) support one of the other four parties: the Liberals, the NDP, the Greens or the Bloc.
That is, 61-64% of Canadians support progressive political parties.
It's true, the Liberals haven't always been all that progressive and it's true they still have their right-wing elements, but, under the leadership of Stephane Dion, they are clearly much more progressive than they have been in recent years... quite dramatically so when compared to Harper.
The reality of the Canadian political landscape is that most Canadians are quite open-minded, tolerant and liberal and they want a government that will, among other things, take climate change seriously and stand up to the warmongers in the Bush White House, rather than kiss their asses. They'd also probably prefer a leader who took pride in our national social programs, rather than one, like Harper, who, before coming to power, called Canada "a northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it" and "a second-tier socialist country, boasting ever more loudly about its economy and social services, to mask its second-rate status".
In short, they want a very different country from that envisioned by Harper and the Conservatives.
Basically, what we have here in Canada is a situation where four parties, supported by the vast majority of Canadians, seek common goals, while one party opposes just about everything.
A few examples:
a) All 4 parties (the Liberals, the NDP, the Greens and the Bloc) supported the Kelowna Accord, an attempt to rectify the horrific situation the majority of Canada's Native people still find themselves in today.
- Harper and the Conservatives killed it.
b) All 4 parties supported the Kyoto Treaty.
- Harper and the Conservatives, for all intents and purposes, pulled us out of the treaty.
c) All 4 parties want to take real action on the environment and climate change.
- Harper and the Conservatives don't seem to think there's any real problem, especially not one that lower taxes for the big oil companies won't fix!
d) All 4 parties supported the plan for a national daycare program.
- Harper and the Conservatives scrapped it when they came to power.
e) All 4 parties, like the vast majority of Canadians, support gay marriage.
- Harper and the Conservatives opposed it and, once in power, brought it up for another vote in parliament in a last ditch attempt to outlaw it. They failed.
f) All 4 parties were strongly against joining the Americans in their illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.
- Harper and the Conservatives wanted to follow their spiritual mentors Bush and Dick into war.
And the list goes on and on and on.
Tyranny of the Minority
Why, I ask, do we have to live under the tyranny of the minority?
Canada is a progressive country. Period. The 38% or so who somehow find Harper to be their guy are entitled to their opinion and their vote, but they have no right running the country and implementing their backward, planet-destroying, homophobic ideas on the vast majority of Canadians who don't agree with them on just about anything.
Over the past 20 years the Right in Canada has always retained the support of approximately one third of the electorate, with that number occasionally rising to about 40% or so. That was true when the right-wing vote was split between the Conservatives and the Reform/Canadian Alliance parties in the 1990s and it's still true today.
The only way the Conservatives ever win power, such as they did 3 years ago and as they look likely to do again this election, is when the more progressive parties split the vote.
However, winning a minority with less than 40% of the vote is one thing, winning a majority (as the Liberals did in 1997) is another. It simply makes a mockery out of the word democracy.
It's As Easy As ABC
No doubt about it, what we need in this country is a reformed electoral system (more about that tomorrow), but for the time being let's just hope we at least get what Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams has been calling for with his ABC campaign: Anyone But the Conservatives!
Mike Cowie (Oredakedo)
Thursday, September 18th, 2008
For Part Two of this rant click here: What Canadians Need: The Canadian Election Rant (Part 2)
For more on Canadian politics click here: Politics: Canada
And to read my most recent piece on American politics click here: Red, (Very) White and Clueless: The Tale of Two Americas
Or if you'd prefer another recent Canadian rant click here: Canada The Callous and Cold: Get Omar Khadr Freed Now!
And for another political rant try this: Finally An Apology: The Canadian Native Residential Schools Rant
And for lots more on politics visit the Politics Homepage